Subsurface Irrigation Helps Nebraska Producer Save Water, Energy and Money
Subsurface irrigation helps Nebraska producer Dave Burr save water, energy and money.
With funding provided through their Ogallala Aquifer Initiative, Adams County farmer Dave Burr thinks he has found an irrigation solution that suits his operation through sub-surface drip irrigation (SDI).
A plastic tape is installed about 14” below ground and runs parallel to each other about 50”-72” apart. Along the tape at 18” intervals are “emitters” which slowly release irrigation water directly to the soil at the root zone.
A tractor knifes in the drip line that delivers irrigation water just below the crop’s surface. Photo: Bill Sabatka
"Since water is applied underground, the surface stays dry. This prevents weeds from becoming established. There just isn’t water available for them to grow," said Burr. Fewer weeds mean less competition for nutrients and water, leaving more resources for the crop.
"Before, my wells were pumping around 1,000 gallons per minute. Since installing my SDI systems I’ve converted my 90 horsepower wells to 30 horsepower that now pump 400 gallons per minute. It’s a win-win for everyone," Burr said.